The system uses nanoparticles made of tiny bits of protein designed to bind to unique receptors found only on neutrophils, a type of immune cell engaged in detrimental acute and chronic inflammatory responses.
The researchers used intra-vital microscopy to follow nanoparticles in real-time in mice with induced vascular inflammation. The nanoparticles were labeled with a fluorescent dye, and could be seen binding to and entering neutrophils clustered together on the inner walls of capillaries, but not binding to freely circulating neutrophils.
If the researchers attached a drug called piceatannol, which interferes with cell-cell adhesion, to the nanoparticles, they observed that clusters of neutrophils that took up the particles detached from each other and from the blood vessel wall.
The cells were in effect neutralized and could no longer contribute to inflammation at the site of an injury.
The findings have been published online in journal Nature Nanotechnology. (ANI)
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